3-year Sentence for Ignoring Safety Hazards Leading to Fatal Fall
Originally published by: OSHA — September 20, 2019
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An Ohio county court has sentenced Jim Coon – a roofing contractor based in Akron, Ohio – to prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 39-year-old employee who fell from a three-story roof while working without required fall protection in November 2017. The court’s action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that found the contractor failed to install fall protection systems.
On September 6, 2019, Summit County Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Coon – owner of Jim Coon Construction – to three years in prison for ignoring safety hazards, and failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage as required. In addition to his incarceration, the court ordered Coon to pay $303,152 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation after he pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, which makes the use of proper protection essential,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Jim Coon willfully disregarded OSHA fall protection regulations that could have prevented this tragedy. This case should serve as a reminder to all employers to comply with their legal obligation to provide required safety equipment, and protect employees on job sites.”
OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on how to prevent falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs on the Fall Protection webpage at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.